Thug Life, Thug Life: Volume 1 (September 26, 1994)
2Pac’s Thug Life project is usually dismissed as another lame posse record, its clumsy symbolism notwithstanding (T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E. was an acronym for The Hate U Gave Little Infants Fucks Everybody), yet Volume 1, is the first to suggest the benefits of becoming G-funk’s signature outlaw. (Many of its tracks were also used for the platinum-selling soundtrack Above the Rim, a basketball film in which he co-starred.) “Shit Don’t Stop” is the kind of gangsta party record he’d master on All Eyez On Me. The excellent “Pour Out a Little Liquor” marked his first collaboration with the late producer Johnny “J” Jackson, who helped create the rapper’s infamous Makaveli sessions. Interspersed between plodding contributions from his Thug Life crew (they’d be much more useful in their second incarnation as the Outlawz), 2Pac achieved an honest, plainspoken delivery. Interscope.